Dr. Cliff Barton
Cliff began his teaching career at the age of 19 ½ in, at that time, the largest school district in the state of Missouri, the Parkway School System in St. Louis.
Cliff left St. Louis for Texas to what he always described as his greatest job challenge. He went to work for the Clear Creek School District where his job was to develop a program for gifted and talented students. Sounds pretty simple except the Clear Creek School District is where all the NASA employee’s children went to school. So he had to develop a gifted program for children who were already exceptionally gifted.
Cliff lived in Texas for over 30 years. While there he also taught at the University of Texas-Austin, worked for the state department of education, and was the Special Education state teacher of the year. While in Texas, Cliff developed an interest for cooking and baking. He went to culinary school and studied French pastry making. He and his sister Carol, who preceded him in death, owned and operated a French pastry deli in Galveston for 10 years.
Cliff left Texas and headed for Washington, DC. During this time Cliff worked in the education department of the Clinton Administration. While working in the Clinton Administration he was chosen to participate in a “think tank.” While participating in this think tank Cliff taught at Harvard University for 3 years.
Cliff eventually retired from the state of Texas and returned to Missouri and became the care giver for his sister Carol, who had leukemia. After Carol passed away Cliff could not remain retired and returned to work for Lakeland Hospital as the principal of the school associated with the hospital. Cliff held that position for 10 years before feeling the need again to retire. Cliff continued working at the hospital part-time for 4 years as he was certified in 8 different areas of therapy.
Cliff’s circle of friends was quite a circle that included bridge players, educators, lawyers, doctors, uneducated, a world known entertainer (Tina Turner), and a former US presidential family, the Clinton’s.
Besides becoming a life master in bridge Cliff enjoyed playing tennis, visiting presidential homes and light houses, hot air ballooning, painting, and taking his “boys” (dogs Charlie, Bruno and Duff) for walks.
Cliff was also involved in non-profit work. He served on the board of APO (Aids Project of the Ozarks) and NAMI of Southwest Missouri (National Alliance on Mental Illness). He was also director of the education program at the World Aids Museum in Fort Lauderdale.
Cliff’s greatest accomplishment was his ability to educate by using the illness that eventually took his life. During the spring of 2015 Cliff wrote an AIDS/HIV prevention curriculum which was presented to representatives of the Broward County school system in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They adopted that program and instituted it in the school system for the Fall semester of 2015. Cliff did this because he saw a need. In one of the high schools in Broward County 80% of the students are HIV positive. (The funding for this program came from AIDS Healthcare Foundation, so it cost the school district nothing.)
Cliff was also a generous person, a kind person and a highly respected person.